U.S. to push for lower trade gap in NAFTA talks

Reuters

Reuters

"If we integrate further and make Mexico more competitive versus China ... even if our exports rise, U.S.jobs will rise, because when we export (to the United States), they're exporting too (via USA content)", said Jaime Serra, a former trade minister who led the initial NAFTA negotiations for Mexico.

The document said the United States would "through an appropriate mechanism, ensure that the NAFTA countries avoid manipulating exchange rates in order to prevent effective balance of payments adjustments or to gain an unfair competitive advantage".

The US government said trade deficits and market access would top the agenda as it renegotiated trade terms with Mexico and Canada.

"Too many Americans have been hurt by closed factories, exported jobs, and broken political promises" said Robert Lighthizer, promising that his department would now "negotiate a fair deal".

The publication of the U.S. Nafta negotiating objectives allows talks on a revisions of the 23-year-old pact to start in as little as a month.

At the direction of US President Donald Trump, Lighthizer on May 18 notified Congress of the administration's intent to begin renegotiating NAFTA.

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Will Gardner, the chief executive of internet safety charity Childnet , said that steps to restrict child access to adult content "are key".

Jeffrey Schott of the Peterson Institute for International Economics said the USA negotiating objectives were a plausible start to the process, but unlikely to achieve that stated goal.

A former Commerce Department official, Schott co-chairs a USA government advisory committee on trade and the environment that presented arguments to the USTR.

Since the NAFTA trade deal was agreed in 1994, the United States trade balance with Mexico has gone from a $1.3 billion surplus to a $64 billion deficit in 2016.

He added the current agreement was ill-equipped to tackle issues blocking access of USA dairy, wine, grain and other products to the Canadian market.

But while the bilateral deficit has increased, trade among the three countries has soared and the deal forms the backbone of cross-border manufacturing arrangements, including for autos. These include subsidies and unfair pricing structures.

The negotiating objectives also include adding a digital economy chapter and incorporating and strengthening labor and environment obligations that are now in NAFTA side agreements.

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